20131113 State must speak against China in UNHRC: parties
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State must speak against China in UNHRC: parties

SELF-HARM: Staying silent on Beijing’s nomination to the UN rights body would undermine Taiwan’s ‘soft power,’ said 22 lawmakers from three political parties

By Chris Wang / Staff reporter

Legislators from across party lines yesterday demanded that the government publicly announce its opposition to China joining the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) due to what they said were Beijing’s notorious human rights violations.

The Executive Yuan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are advised to issue official statements opposing China’s acceptance on to the council and calling for UN members to vote against Beijing’s nomination, a proposal tabled by the lawmakers said.

Twenty-two lawmakers — 20 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers, Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Yeh Chin-ling (葉津鈴) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) — endorsed the proposal, which also demanded that Beijing immediately release 16 political prisoners, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) and lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟).

China is almost certain to be named as one of the 17 new member states in the 47-member council at the UN General Assembly today, despite what critics call its poor human rights record.

“China’s election [to the council] would be a great irony and we must stand up against it. While Taiwan takes pride in its democracy and freedom, its so-called ‘soft power’ would be just an illusion if the government stays silent about Beijing winning a seat on the council,” DPP Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said.

“China remains an authoritarian, undemocratic one-party state. It has not stopped oppressing Taiwanese, Uighurs and Tibetans, and its human rights violations — including crackdowns on religion and political dissidents — are shocking and unacceptable,” she added.

If President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration is serious about promoting democracy and assisting the democratic movement in China, the government cannot afford to keep quiet on this issue, Yu said.

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